Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Purgatory eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 107 pages of information about Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Purgatory.

I straightway mark’d a tribe behind them walk,
As if attendant on their leaders, cloth’d
With raiment of such whiteness, as on earth
Was never.  On my left, the wat’ry gleam
Borrow’d, and gave me back, when there I look’d. 
As in a mirror, my left side portray’d.

When I had chosen on the river’s edge
Such station, that the distance of the stream
Alone did separate me; there I stay’d
My steps for clearer prospect, and beheld
The flames go onward, leaving, as they went,
The air behind them painted as with trail
Of liveliest pencils! so distinct were mark’d
All those sev’n listed colours, whence the sun
Maketh his bow, and Cynthia her zone. 
These streaming gonfalons did flow beyond
My vision; and ten paces, as I guess,
Parted the outermost.  Beneath a sky
So beautiful, came foul and-twenty elders,
By two and two, with flower-de-luces crown’d.

All sang one song:  “Blessed be thou among
The daughters of Adam! and thy loveliness
Blessed for ever!” After that the flowers,
And the fresh herblets, on the opposite brink,
Were free from that elected race; as light
In heav’n doth second light, came after them
Four animals, each crown’d with verdurous leaf. 
With six wings each was plum’d, the plumage full
Of eyes, and th’ eyes of Argus would be such,
Were they endued with life.  Reader, more rhymes
Will not waste in shadowing forth their form: 
For other need no straitens, that in this
I may not give my bounty room.  But read
Ezekiel; for he paints them, from the north
How he beheld them come by Chebar’s flood,
In whirlwind, cloud and fire; and even such
As thou shalt find them character’d by him,
Here were they; save as to the pennons; there,
From him departing, John accords with me.

The space, surrounded by the four, enclos’d
A car triumphal:  on two wheels it came
Drawn at a Gryphon’s neck; and he above
Stretch’d either wing uplifted, ’tween the midst
And the three listed hues, on each side three;
So that the wings did cleave or injure none;
And out of sight they rose.  The members, far
As he was bird, were golden; white the rest
With vermeil intervein’d.  So beautiful
A car in Rome ne’er grac’d Augustus pomp,
Or Africanus’:  e’en the sun’s itself
Were poor to this, that chariot of the sun
Erroneous, which in blazing ruin fell
At Tellus’ pray’r devout, by the just doom
Mysterious of all-seeing Jove.  Three nymphs
at the right wheel, came circling in smooth dance;
The one so ruddy, that her form had scarce
Been known within a furnace of clear flame: 
The next did look, as if the flesh and bones
Were emerald:  snow new-fallen seem’d the third.

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Divine Comedy, Cary's Translation, Purgatory from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.